The Minnesota Twins and the right-hander chris paddack would have accepted a 3-year contract, by Twins Daily. According to Dan Hayes of The Athletic, the guarantee of the agreement is 12.5 million dollars. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Paddack will receive $2.5 million in 2023, $2.5 million in 2024 and $7.5 million in 2025, with up to an additional $2.5 million available in incentives. The deal, which is pending physical review, would lock Paddack in for a free agent year beyond his normal team vetting window.
Paddack, 27 last week, was acquired by the Twins last April in a deal with the Padres which also saw Taylor Rogers and Emilie Pagan change uniform. Unfortunately for the Twins, Paddack only managed 22 1/3 innings with the club before landing on the injured list with an elbow problem. Paddack then underwent Tommy John surgery in May, with August 2023 being the reported target for his major league return.
Paddack was an instant hit in his 2019 freshman season with the Padres, posting a 3.33 ERA (126 ERA+) with a 3.95 FIP over 26 starts and racked up 153 strikeouts in just 140 2/ 3 rounds of work. However, the shortened 2020 season saw him struggle mightily, as his ERA soared to 4.73 (89 ERA+) and his FIP also increased to 5.02 in 59 innings. One factor in that was his horrendous 25.0% HR/FB rate, nearly double his 14.6% rate from 2019.
His home run rate returned to normal in 2021, but Paddack continued to struggle. In 108 1/3 innings in 2021, Paddack posted a career-worst 5.07 ERA (77 ERA+). Paddack’s 3.72 FIP in 2021 indicates there may have been some bad luck in those results, but there was cause for concern nonetheless: his strikeout rate had plummeted. After striking out 9.8 batters per 9 in his 2019 freshman season, that rate fell to 8.8 in 2020, then again in 2021, down to 8.2, good for a 35th percentile strikeout rate this that year.
Of course, it’s worth noting that Paddack struggled with injuries throughout the 2021 season, which certainly could have impacted his performance. Paddack spent more than two months on the injured list in 2021 across three separate IL stints, suggesting he may not have been fully healthy even while on the mound that season. Between his youth and injury history, there’s reason to believe Paddack could return to form more in line with his 2019 debut once he’s fully healthy, a result the Twins are betting on with this deal.
By extending Paddack, the Twins offer the right-hander some security during his rehabilitation process and return to the pitching mound, while buying themselves an extra year of team control for a pitcher with a substantial upside. Should Paddack return to the mound at the end of the season, he would join a somewhat comprehensive rotation mix that currently includes Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Joe Ryan, Kenta Maedaand Bailey Ober. That being said, Gray, Mahle and Maeda are all set to enter the free agent market after 2023, leaving Paddack as a likely key cog in Minnesota’s 2024 rotation.
With four years in service, Paddack was expected to be eligible for arbitration both this offseason and next, with MLBTR contributor Matt Schwartz pitching him for $2.4 million in that round of arbitration. With the deal, Paddack is giving up a potential raise through the arbitration process next year on top of a year of free agency, despite still being on the market 30 years into the 2025 campaign. cost-controlled starter like Paddack is a huge boon to Minnesota’s payroll flexibility going forward – while their projected payroll for the 2024 season is just $65 million per RosterResource (prior to including arb-eligible players on the roster), the Twins are, as previously mentioned, set to lose three members of its rotation this offseason, potentially in addition to two starting outfielders in Joey Gallo and Max Kepler. While young people love Alex Kiriloff and Trevor Larnach could step up in the outfield, it seems almost certain the Twins will need to complete their core in free agency next year. Cost certainty with Paddack could help them be more aggressive in making these additions and maximize the early years of Carlos Correaof the new six-year contract with the club.